In the Company of the Courtesan

By Sarah Dunant,

Book cover of In the Company of the Courtesan: A Novel

Book description

My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment.

Thus begins In…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked In the Company of the Courtesan as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In prose that is engrossing and rich in color, culture, and voice, Dunant’s historical fiction novel incorporates stories of two of the women that I included in my own book.

The courtesan Fiammetta, loosely based on the life of Veronica Franco, and her healer La Draga, inspired by Elena Crusichi, pulled me into eighteenth-century Venice and its opportunities and dangers for enterprising women. Paired with reading Franco’s actual poems and letters, edited and translated by Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal, I developed a deep admiration and compassion for Franco and Crusichi during Venice’s heyday.

Dunant has again written…

From Kathleen's list on undaunted Italian women to inspire you.

Told from the point of view of a guard who happens to be a dwarf, this enjoyable, page-turning novel is about a courtesan who escapes the Sack of Rome in 1527 to ply her trade in Venice. As the dwarf and his mistress infiltrate their way into the highest ranks of Venetian society, they must contend with the mysteries and dangers found in every echelon of one of the Renaissance world’s greatest cities.

From Gina's list on women in Renaissance Venice.

Sixteenth-century Italy. A much-sought-after courtesan, Fiammetta Bianchini, and her confidante, foil, and pimp Bucino, a dwarf, resettle in Venice after the sack of Rome and establish her prowess in and amongst the glitterati of the time. Over time, the two outcasts grow apart. Their connection frays, almost to irreparable. Dunant’s research brings Venice’s glitz and its grunge alive. There are four others, not really in a series per se, but alike enough because they share the Renaissance that they group loosely together. A courtesan was one of the few women of the time who owned herself. For me, an absolute…

From Susan's list on subversive historical fiction.

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